Travel Tales: Cruising Through Hà Long Bay For Under RM50

A short hike up Monkey Island reveals a breathtaking viewpoint, with a gorgeous view of the islands that surround the Gulf of Tonkin.

Travelling can often be synonymous with expensive, but I’m here to tell you that that’s a stereotype – you can have your cake and eat it too, ladies! If you’ve been dreaming of cruising through Hà Long Bay but are limited to only dreaming due to inflated prices then it’s time to turn those dreams into a reality. Yes, you can experience the number one tourist destination in Vietnam for as little as $12 (this works out to about RM46)!

Forget booking accommodation in Hà Nội or Hà Long Bay, it’s Cát Bà Island you should be visiting – a little over two hours from Hà Nội, you can reach the island via bus, inclusive of the ferry, with prices starting from 200,000 VnD (RM34).

Although Cát Bà Island has its own national park and bomb stricken caves, the main attraction is the daily cruises around Lan Hà Bay and Hà Long Bay. While normally you’d have to pay upwards from $70-90 for a half-day tour, here you can pay as little as $12 (RM46)! The trick is to haggle and compare prices around the city centre as most tour companies do start with $15-20… but my travel companion and I simply told the tour operator we were offered $13 by a competitor and voila, $12 it became.

So what does the half-day tour around Hà Long Bay include? Get ready to be thoroughly “shook” (as the cool kids say)!

Starting with a slow cruise through a local fishing village, the boat sails around Lan Hà Bay and Hà Long Bay before docking at a safe area for kayaking – nearby are caves to kayak through and hidden lagoons to stumble upon.

After that arm workout, a feast is served onboard the boat, which also serves as an opportunity to socialise with the other passengers because it is a tour after all and there will be others.

If the weather permits, snorkelling is the next-stop but even if you can’t snorkel, swimming by a private beach is still part of the agenda! Once you’ve had a dip, it’s onwards to Monkey Island for a short hike to a breathtaking viewpoint – showcasing perfectly the various islands surrounding the Gulf of Tonkin. If you’re not into that then relax by the beach as the sun sets but make sure to keep a safe distance from cheeky monkeys with a Pringles addiction!


Looking for more travel stories to get you inspired? Check out the previous instalment of Travel Tales, on why Hoi An, Vietnam should be your next travel destination!

About Raisa Gabrielli

Raisa Gabrielli is the author of Raisa Reviews, a Malaysian lifestyle website focusing on food and travel reviews; with the content constantly expanding as her passion for life blossoms. When she’s not eating the world or venturing into nature, she’s probably curled up in a corner reading.

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